What follows is a complete synopsis of Cradle of the Gods, Book One of the Soulstone Prophecy Series.
In a mountain valley, known as the Cradle of the Gods, on the very edge of the dwarven empire, a human settlement prepares for the coming summer festival and annual rite of attrition. A rite where the humans’ dwarven overseers will test them to see if they show signs of a prophecy. Those humans who do are killed.
Ghile of Last Hamlet, an awkward human sheepherder trying to fill the shoes of his deceased older brother, tries to please his parents and prepare for his manhood tests and first rite of attrition. He fears failing his family, the manhood tests, and the rite. But, most of all, he fears surviving them all and living out a dull uneventful life in the Cradle.
When the Sorcerer of Whispering Rock, and his young apprentice arrive in Ghile’s village for their annual visit, Ghile thinks it nothing more than an exciting break from the monotony of his life. Until, Ghile is chased by the village bullies and seeks refuge by following the sorcerer’s apprentice into the ancient ruins at the base of the mountain known as the Horn. The ruins are forbidden for any human to enter by dwarven law. Inside the ruins Ghile stumbles upon an ancient statue. When he touches it he is bonded to a soulstone which crawls into his body and sears itself to his chest.
Ghile awakens in a strange dreamworld. His deceased brother greets him and tells Ghile he is now stonechosen. His brother explains the souls of all humans who die are trapped in a limbo and cannot escape unless Ghile fulfills the Soulstone Prophecy and frees Haurtu, the banished god. His brother teaches him how to use the magic of his soulstone.
Ghile awakens back in his home village. He decides to use his new powers to pass his manhood tests instead of leaving as his brother advised. Meanwhile, various forces descend on the Cradle. A goblin stonechosen, with the power to control animals, rides across the mountains with a pack of worgs, taking up residence in a cave on the Horn and plots to attack Ghile and take his soulstone.
A dwarven knight justice arrives in the Cradle to carry out the rite of attrition. Unlike the dwarves responsible for the Cradle, he is not a merchant, but a warrior who plans to show both the dwarves and the humans of this backwater settlement how humans should be treated.
A young freshly initiated human druid returns to the cradle with her new shieldwarden, a barbarian from the Nordlah Plains, where humans fight against the oppressive yoke of the dwarves.
Ghile travels to the summer festival with his village but notices his uncle has not joined them from his patrols along the Horn.
Ghile uses the power of his soulstone to survive his manhood tests, but in so doing, causes the death of another participant. In a state of shock, he attends the Rite of Attrition where he is recognized as stonechosen by the knight justice, who attempts to cull Ghile, wounding him severely. Ghile is saved by the combined efforts of the Sorcerer of Whispering Rock, his apprentice, and the recently arrived druid and her shieldwarden. They all flee deep into the woods.
Ghile meets Mother Brambles, matron of the druids, who explains how the world has not been in balance since Haurtu was exiled. She asks him to fulfill the prophecy and restore the balance. But, to do this, Ghile will have to give his body over to Haurtu. Ghile is torn, but ultimately accepts on the condition they protect his family from the dwarves and help him find his uncle. Mother Brambles agrees.
Ghile, the sorcerer’s apprentice, the druid and her shieldwarden travel to the Horn in search of Ghile’s uncle, while the Sorcerer of Whispering Rock travels to Ghile’s village.
On the Horn, Ghile and his companions are attacked by a frost wyrm, awoken by the goblin stonechosen. During the battle Ghile is separated from the others and attacks the goblin and his worgs, who has Ghile’s uncle. Ghile barely survives the battle and upon defeating the goblin is bonded to the second soulstone. Ghile again enters the dreamworld.
Ghile discovers the spirit of the goblin is now in the dreamworld with his brother. The goblin promises to teach Ghile how to use the powers of the new soulstone. Suddenly, the vision of another stonechosen appears. She tells Ghile she is trapped in a fallen city before fading from view.
Ghile wakes in the mountain cave to discover his village was razed by the dwarves. The sorcerer was able to get the villagers to safety in the ruins before the dwarves arrived.
Ghile realizes everyone he loves is in danger if he remains and travels to the ruins to say goodbye to his family. He sets out with his new companions to fulfill the Soulstone Prophecy.